This winter, Bryan Cranston is prepping to play a character that probably didn’t cook meth. The Emmy-winning Breaking Bad favorite is taking on the role of real-life President Lyndon B. Johnson in Robert Schenkkan’s Broadway bio drama All the Way, and until he hits the stage at the Neil Simon Theatre on February 10, 2014, he’ll have his nose stuck in a book for inspiration, The New York Times reports.
So, which books will Cranston be using to research his newest role as the 36th President of the United States? Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream by Doris Kearns Goodwin, which the actor calls the best book he’s read all year. The soon-to-be Broadway star has also devoured Robert Caro’s Master of the Senate, Mark Updegrove’s Indomitable Will and Michael Beschloss’ Taking Charge. If you want to read along with Cranston before he debuts on the Great White Way, put these books on your Christmas list now!
"The three main tools in an actor’s toolbox are personal experience, research and imagination," Cranston tells The New York Times. "Richly drawn literary characters plant seeds in our brains for future reference. When developing a character we will unwittingly pull from those memories to form a whole character...Then we selfishly claim them as original."
Cranston played LBJ in the American Repertory Theater production of All the Way. In addition to his Emmy-winning turn on Breaking Bad, his many film and TV credits include Little Miss Sunshine, The King of Queens, Malcolm in the Middle, Drive, The Cleveland Show and Seinfeld. No word on how many books about “anti-dentites” Cranston read before taking on the role of Jerry and George’s buddy Tim Whatley, but we’re assuming it was at least four.